Preventing Terrorism: The US and the AfPak Region after bin Laden

Date: Monday 30 May 2011, 12:30 – 14:00

Venue: Campus The Hague, Location Stichthage

ICCT hosted a lunch meeting with Matthew P. Hoh on “Preventing Terrorism: The US and the AfPak Region after Bin Laden“.

Matthew P. Hoh is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the Director of the Afghanistan Study Group. He has served with the US Marine Corps in Iraq and at US Embassies in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hoh became front page news when he, as a Foreign Service officer, submitted a public resignation letter on September 10, 2009. Hoh, who was the senior civilian representative in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, stated in the letter, “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.” He is cited as the first US government official to have resigned in objection to the US presence and activities in Afghanistan.

During the Lunch Meeting, Hoh discussed the effects of the death of Osama bin Laden and the US activities in the AfPak region in relation to legal norms and standards, processes of radicalisation and ways to prevent them at the roots of the conflict in that area. In a recently published report, A New Way Forward: Rethinking US Strategy in Afghanistan, Hoh and his colleagues argue that the US should by no means abandon Afghanistan, but it is time to abandon the current strategy that is not working. Trying to pacify Afghanistan by force of arms will not work. A costly military campaign there is likely to jeopardise America’s vital security interests, might undermine processes of pacification and fuel new crises. The recent events surrounding bin Laden’s death make this issue even more urgent, with insurgents, ordinary citizens and political parties in the Greater Middle East demanding the immediate withdrawal of the US in the region. What policy aims do the US pursue at present, how do they fit with the European focus on preventing radicalisation and upholding international legal order?